Nathan and I come from very different backgrounds and have varying viewpoints, but together we come to the same core beliefs about food and community. First, there is no limit to how many farmers can find success growing their small-scale farm businesses. We all eat three meals a day and when you consider how much food that ads up to we must believe that we need more farmers growing sustainably grown, local food. We must not see one another as the competition, but rather large corporations who in the past have had policy formed around their needs-adding to their success and the fall of the small farmer. Together we can create a collaborative voice that makes huge differences for the future of local food. We need to believe in ourselves and one another. And second, anyone who is given the financial means, education, support and encouragement will buy local food. We need to believe in moms with young children, busy professionals, refugee and immigrant families, kids in the lunch line, restaurant owners, college students-everyone. We need to have meaningful conversations about what the real barriers are and how we can work together to make real changes.
Our business model may not make sense on paper and there is absolutely room for financial growth, but this is where our passion for community comes in. If we allowed ourselves to continue taking more customers, growing our business till the seams were bursting then we would be left with little space in our own lives to help others. When our farming friends crop is suffering, the community garden needs irrigation, policy needs changed, people are hungry, our voice needs to be heard or a market needs a new building-we wouldn’t have the time to stop what we are doing and pitch in. We’d miss the blessings that come only through hard work, negotiation and watching your prayers get answered (most of the time in ways you weren’t expecting).
Nathan is able to put all of that hard work he grew up doing into good use as he feeds the 35 families that we serve and he assists other farmers to make this farming thing work. I am able to take the experiences of my past to serve others who are hungry. I can only hope that my kids will know that we are all equal no matter what we look like, where we live or what we eat. And that farming doesn’t always look like farming.
And it’s only possible by those who have believed in us when we weren’t really meant to be the ones who did this kind of work. The friends, neighbors and family who came around us as we lost Nathan’s mother just as we took our leap of faith. The customers who forgave us as we made mistakes, learned and did our best week after week. The leaders in our community and across the state who listened to our concerns and helped us find our voice.
When we think about what communities looked like in the past-it was probably much like this. Everyone doing their part so that everyone will survive the winter (the future). We look forward to what’s next for us here at Need More Acres farm and are anxiously awaiting what we’ve been holding space for.